Philadelphia artist Angela McQuillan is a mixed media artist who is inspired by her former work in science—two fields of study that share many common traits including experimentation, exploration, and creative problem solving. McQuillan has said that she is “drawn to the lure of the unknown and the quest for more knowledge. I am interested in the processes that occur inside of a living entity that are invisible to the eye yet essential to life.” Her background in science has fueled her fascination with “organic forms, anatomical subjects, and biological processes.”
Here, McQuillan has created a series of forms titled Chimera. In Greek mythology, a chimera is a “fire breathing female hybrid monster.” In biology, it references “an organism or tissue that contains at least two different sets of DNA,” and the dictionary defines chimera as “something to achieve, a fantasy, a dream, and a figment of the imagination.” Like the multitude of definitions, McQuillan has combined a variety of materials—ceramic and soft sculpture, with varying processes—hand built clay, sewn fabric, and crochet, to create 3-dimensional forms that allude to biological systems. The open patterned network of the black clay with its hardened surface envelops and protects the softer, smaller, more colorful, tactile elements within.
McQuillan’s sculptural objects resemble cells, human organs, and living vessels. They are fantastical hybrids of her imagination that as she says, “Together they represent biodiversity, the importance of an ecosystem, and a respect and curiosity for worlds that have yet to be discovered.”